Public Transportation Excuses

I've had a very public transportation-y week. In all, I've ridden 6, count 'em, 6 public transportation systems (Island Transit, Whatcom Transit, Skagit Transit, Sound Transit*, Community Transit, and Metro Transit). In some of the downtime inevitably provided by traveling while not having to focus on the road, I started thinking about why people choose not to ride the bus. As kind of a response to some of those reasons, I wanted to share this anecdote in hopes of getting people to maybe reconsider their excuses.

A few weeks ago, a friend was in visiting from out of town. Being that I don't have a car, all our motating* was either by foot or bus*. One particular bus trip got me to stop and realize how many of people's usual excuses we were defying. We were on a relatively unfamiliar system (we were in Bellingham, whose bus system I don't have much experience with), we were going shopping at the farmers market so had a couple of bags of groceries, and we were traveling with a 15-month old in a stroller. Even with all that, the trip went splendidly. Extra time provided by the bus schedule allowed us to explore the town more, the 15-month old really enjoyed watching out the window as the bus cruised along, and we got some good exercise walking to and from the bus stop.

(p.s. I love public transportation.)
Saturday November 3 2007File under: transportation

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FC5 - Memory Foam

Yes, yes, I know October is over. And no, no, I'm not trying to live in the past. It is just that I had so much fun with the October Friday Comic series, I think I will keep it up until the ideas run out (or my drawing staff goes on strike.)

I really like how this one turned out. I esp. like the art. We went back and forth how best to convey this one, and I think Deanna captured everything perfectly.

Anyhoo, I hope you're enjoying reading the comics as much as I am enjoying coming up with them.
Friday November 2 2007File under: comic

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Happy Halloween!

I'm not a fan of Halloween. Call me a party pooper (most do). But just because I'm not the biggest fan doesn't mean that I don't appreciate others' love of it. I'm also not so anti-Halloween that I can't admit it has its upsides: candy, clever costumes*, and The Simpsons Tree House of Horrors.

This year I got invited to a costume party. The costume I came up with hardly rivaled any of the others there. Hannah had the best costume of the night IMHO with a dead perfect Ugly Betty. (By saying it was dead perfect, I'm not implying that she was looking ugly. Anyone who knows the show and saw her would get it.) Other great costumes were Willy Wonka, Neo (from the Matrix), and a big fat tourist guy. Seeing the costumes, esp. the ones that were homemade, made me appreciate the holiday a little bit more.

So what was I? Well, have a look and try to guess. (If you already knew, pre-post, please keep to yourself. Or if you are the one person that correctly guessd (Joe), sit quietly and marvel at how clever you are.) What you can't see is that I am wearing knee high rubber boots, which may or may not help. Need a hint? Hover for a clue or two: hint 1, hint 2, hint 3, and (big) hint 4.
Wednesday October 31 2007File under: holidays

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Friday Comic 4

For the final Friday of the month, we've called back in the first stringer. Not only did Deanna draw this week's comic, but she also gets co-writing credit for figuring out how to turn my super vague idea into something workable. I hope you enjoy!

(In this place where I usually link to the previous comics in the series, I will instead point out the new searching feature that will allow you to list all the comics on just one page. Click the "File under: comic" below.)
Thursday October 25 2007File under: comic

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The Red Note runs the NYC Marathon

Looking for a good time? Call 867-5309. Even better, come out this Friday night for a for some fine music courtesy of The Red Note (and special guest!). The show is at the History House in Fremont* at 7:00. To accompany the entertainment, there will be season appropriate beverages for sale. All the information can be found at The Red Note's website (*)

The show is a benefit to help Chapman raise money to fight lung cancer. The money serves as his entry fee to the NYC marathon, which is in turn donated to lung cancer research as I understand it. Running 26.4 miles is a feat in itself and doing it for the betterment of humanity is all the more commendable. If you would like to support Chapman but can't make it to this Friday's show, click here.
Wednesday October 24 2007File under: events, misc

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New Host

As some of you may have noticed, over the past 2 months or so, BdW has not been exceptionally reliable. Sometimes it was super slow in loading. Other times, it wouldn't load at all. It has been a source of frusteration for me that I've constantly been trying to deal with by alerting my web host. While he was always quick to respond (as soon as I could track him down), it still meant lots of downtime which isn't good for anybody.

Now, though, I am pleased to announce that I have moved to a new host*. From preliminary tests, it is a big step up. Pages compile uber-fast and the ftp access is also quite snappy. I have yet to figure out how to set up other domains (so troothpicks will continue to stay over at Cheapstream for the time being). Anyway, I guess the point is that things should work better now. If you notice a problem, please tell me. And if you know someone that quit reading because of these previous technical issues, please encourage them to give me another try.

With the move to a new host, I figure it would be a good time to launch some minor upgrades which I will just quickly mention. First and foremost, I've introduced searching by tag. That way, if you want to find all posts about, say, food, you can just click "food" under "filled under:". I also tweaked the way the pagination buttons work to account for space. It is a temporary fix, but I think it is kind of neat. (Scroll down to the bottom and hover over the page numbers.) Lastly, I changed the RSS to be a little more standards compliant. If you've got upgrades that you would like to see*, please let me know.
Tuesday October 23 2007File under: coding, blog

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A Night at the Drive-In

As much hot air as I spout against driving (vs. public transporation, biking, etc.), there is one situation where a replacement for a car is practically out of the question. While I've heard of people biking or walking in, carrying their own lawn chairs, blankets, and battery powered radios, the drive-in movies just aren't the same unless you drive in.

After keeping an eye on my schedule and the schedule of the theatre all summer long, I finally found a match this weekend: two movies that didn't look terrible with a weekend where I was free and had access to a car. The experience was well worth it. The movies may not have been awesome, and we had a little bit of a car door issue*, but the experience was almost exactly as it should be completely with giggling teenagers running around willy nilly and a foot-long chili dog from the concession stand.

For those of you in the northwest washington "viewing" area, check out Blue Fox Drive-In (open weekends until at least early December). For those of you outside of said viewing area, check for drive-ins in your area here

Oh, and if I can't convince you with the ambience and chili dogs, maybe this will do the trick: two movies for only $6, at 65%* savings over your nearest cineplex.
Sunday October 21 2007File under: movies, Anacortes

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Friday Comic 3

Send in the B-team!

With our first-string artist on a well deserved break, we had to reach down in the depths to find an artist for this week's comic: me. And while the artistry doesn't hold a candle to the work of Deanna, I like to think that it gets the point across just fine.

But don't worry, folks; next week I'll be back on the bench drawing-wise and we'll have a comic worthy of a Friday.

(I would link to all the previous comics in the series here, but 1) they are all within a few posts of this one and 2) to compare them to this one would be an insult to them)
Friday October 19 2007File under: comic

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Beat the Heat

This past Monday was blog action day!, a day where bloggers around the world unite to give coverage to a certain topic. The idea of a group call to action for bloggers doesn't sit extremely well with me (like so many memes), but this year's topic was the environment, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Because environment and environmentalism are such huge topics, I abandoned my original idea of listing all the environmental blogs I read, lists of tips and tricks to lessen your environmental footprint, and maybe even post my reflective essay It's About More Than Carbon, Silly. Instead, I decided to cover just one thing, which happens to fit in with what I've been doing recently.

Beat the Heat is a community group here in Skagit County (which meets in Anacortes) dedicated to working to "slow global warming through public awareness, personal action, and political advocacy." I've attended a few of their meetings to see what they are all about. It was great to see people self-organizing to work towards a goal they believe in. Many of the projects are closely in line with interests/goals of my own*. Their website has some great resources including a calendar of upcoming environment-related events including sponsored movies and lectures.
Wednesday October 17 2007File under: environment, Anacortes

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Return of Quiz Night

After a longer than normal hiatus, the Backporch Cafe's Quiz Night returned this past Friday evening. A lively crowd* battled it out for the fame and prizes. With my regular team absent, I recruited a crack team of first timers to help with the pursuit. Through round one, we held our own. It turns out our knowledge of indigenous plants, world rivers, classic literature, and Antonio Banderas is above average. Round two was a bit of a suck fest for the Imperfect Ladies*. Out knowledge, or lack thereof, of current events, (post?)modern literature, the Clash, and starlets took us from second place to second-to-last. In a quiz tournament so heavily topicized*, you live and die by the topics.

Anyway, as always, it was a good time made even better by the other folks who played. Keep an eye out for the next go round. After all, the more, the merrier.

And for all of you who enjoy playing along, I'll share the two identification rounds. Above (click for larger image) are starlets. How many can you name? Or try your knowledge of indigenous plants. I'll post the answers in special hover code in the comments.

The Backporch Cafe's Quiz night has been covered before here and here.
Sunday October 14 2007File under: Anacortes, games

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